The museum's entrance space will be renamed Hintze Hall following the donation. Image: NHM

NHM renames entrance hall following record £5m donation

Geraldine Kendall, 13.05.2014
Meanwhile National Army Museum wins £11.5m grant from HLF
The Natural History Museum (NHM) has received a record donation of £5m to redevelop the displays in its entrance hall.

The sum, the museum’s largest ever single gift, was donated by the British-Australian hedge fund CEO Michael Hintze and his wife through their foundation, the Hintze Family Charitable Foundation. The entrance hall is to be renamed Hintze Hall in recognition of the donation.

The funding will be used to ensure the exhibits in the entrance hall better reflect the museum’s current scientific work and the breadth of its collections.

The redevelopment is the first part of the museum's long-term plan to improve the overall visitor experience in its galleries and behind-the-scenes spaces, as well as consolidating the parts of the collection that are cared for in the museum’s scientific laboratories.

NHM director Michael Dixon said: “We are extremely grateful for this generous donation, which represents a big step towards ambitious plans for our future, for both our science and our galleries.”

Meanwhile the National Army Museum (NAM) has secured a £11.5m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund towards its £23.25m Building for the Future project, which will transform the museum’s galleries, create new, environmentally controlled stores for its collections and improve its digital, research and learning facilities.

The museum plans to install five new gallery spaces that tell the story of the British Army over 600 years, which it hopes will bring a 30% rise in visitors by 2016.

The NAM’s London site will close this year for two years during the redevelopment. The museum plans to implement a UK-wide programme of outreach activities during that period.

Elsewhere, the Imperial War Museum (IWM) in London has received a donation of £1.75m from the Pears Foundation towards its Peace and Security: 1945 – 2014 gallery, which focuses on stories of contemporary conflict.

The gallery is in the museum’s atrium, which has been redesigned as part of a major capital project at the museum to mark the first world war centenary. 

Including the latest donation, the IWM has raised £38.3m towards the £40m cost of its redevelopment project to date. The museum is due to reopen to the public on 19 July.